MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education)
I rise today to note the value of the Working for Victoria Fund in easing the devastating effect of job loss that is a direct result of COVID-19.
I’m heartened to see the cooperation between regional shire councils and organisations like catchment management authorities, working with the Andrews Labor government to create work for those who have lost their jobs.
The Working for Victoria program is a $500 million fund providing economic support and an opportunity to develop new skills on the job.
Through agreements with councils, there are jobs in cleaning, land and asset management, community outreach, plant operation, community care and hardship relief delivery, mostly new jobs that don’t impact the existing workforce.
In the south-west, Corangamite Shire Council leads the way, with over 30 temporary positions in skilled and unskilled roles, providing incomes for residents and boosting the local economy.
Golden Plains, Colac Otway and Moyne shires plus the City of Greater Geelong have joined, and Surf Coast shire is in the application process.
Corangamite and Glenelg Hopkins CMAs are employing workers on environmental works in their catchment areas.
Regional communities also benefit through the Agriculture Workforce Plan that is providing work with CMAs and DELWP—jobs that are important work in improving agricultural land health.
Last week’s National Skills Week highlighted the importance of free TAFE in positioning our economy for recovery, plus targeted short courses assisting retrenched workers to move into career paths where there are jobs, either by upskilling or retraining.
The retrenched apprentices and trainees program will also help young people to complete their apprenticeships and find work.
These are very positive outcomes in an unprecedented crisis.